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Long Beach Hikes Fines to Save Programs

September 23, 1996

With citizens already up in arms over parks, redevelopment and the future of the naval station property, the Long Beach City Council was faced with a ticklish problem in balancing its budget.

Money had been found to pay for police, fire and other big-ticket city services, but there was not enough to cover several relatively small but popular programs that City Manager James C. Hankla suggested eliminating.

These included proposals to cut library hours on Sunday, eliminate the office of the city's historic preservation officer and do away with the parks department's day camp program.

Hankla also couldn't find the money to restore a cut made the year before in the city's popular park concert program. The City Council wanted eight weeks, rather than the six funded in the current budget.

Then Hankla offered a solution, falling back on a tried-and-true revenue raising measure used by Long Beach and other Southern California cities. If the council raised the fine that the city charges residents who leave their cars on the street on street sweeping days by just $3, from $25 to $28, it would raise $450,000.

The City Council went along, but only after Hankla's office circulated a chart showing that Long Beach was in the middle of the pack when it came to street sweeping fines.

The city budget people found that fines in Anaheim are $24, $25 in Manhattan Beach and $25 in Signal Hill. Fines are $29 in Newport Beach, $30 in Los Angeles, $32 in Huntington Beach, $35 in Torrance, $38 in Santa Monica, $38 in Culver City and $41 in Santa Ana.

With that out of the way, the City Council, by a unanimous vote, approved a budget last week that will bring city spending to $1.7 billion.

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